Published: Fri, May 24, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump orders new powers for Attorney General's surveillance probe

Trump orders new powers for Attorney General's surveillance probe

"Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General's investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election", a trio of tweets, attributed to the White House press secretary, announced on the president's Twitter account Thursday.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, in a almost two-year investigation involving dozens of federal prosecutors and FBI agents, found that the Trump campaign did not coordinate or cooperate with Russian efforts to meddle in the election - which included efforts to sow discord on social media.

In Thursday's memo Trump ordered the Department of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, Secretary of Energy, Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence and the director of the CIA to assist Barr in his review of the activities of the agencies during the FBI's probe into alleged - now debunked - collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Last month, Barr said at a Senate hearing that "spying" on Trump's campaign was carried out by USA intelligence agencies, though he later referred to his concerns as focused on 'unauthorized surveillance'.

Wray vocally opposed the release by Congress a year ago of details from a secret surveillance warrant obtained by the bureau on a former campaign adviser, Carter Page. But the move could also serve as a prelude to a larger declassification effort Trump has floated since last fall as he's battled his own intelligence agencies and accused former officials, without evidence, of conspiring against him. At the time, the president was being encouraged by a group of Republican Congress members to declassify the information.

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Former intelligence officials and Democratic leaders on congressional intelligence committees criticized Trump's decision.

"The coverup has entered a new and unsafe phase".

The president is the government's highest authority over whether national secrets remain classified. Trump has told close confidants that he "finally" had "my attorney general", according to two Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

They allege he mischaracterised the findings of the Mueller report, and he has also been held in contempt of Congress for failing to provide them an unredacted version. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, were seen by reporters earlier Thursday at the Justice Department.

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